US, Russia military leadership talks held in Finland

Helsinki, Sep 22 (AP):
The top US military officer met with his Russian counterpart Wednesday, against the backdrop of US struggles to get military basing rights and other counterterrorism support in countries bordering Afghanistan a move Moscow has flatly opposed.
The meeting in the Finnish capital, Helsinki, between Gen Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen Valery Gerasimov comes at a crucial time in the wake of the military withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Without troops on the ground, the US needs to forge more basing, intelligence sharing and other agreements to help monitor al-Qaida and Islamic State militants in Afghanistan to ensure they are not regrouping and posing a threat to America and its allies.
Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said in July, however, that Moscow warned the US that any deployment of American troops in countries neighboring Afghanistan is unacceptable.” He said Russia told the US in a direct and straightforward way that it would change a lot of things not only in our perceptions of what’s going on in that important region, but also in our relations with the United States. Ryabkov also said that Russia had a frank talk with the Central Asian countries to warn them not to allow US troops within their borders. Milley declined to provide details of the meeting to reporters traveling with him to Helsinki.

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